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Could someone mark my Macbeth essay on guilt?

In the cautionary tale 'Macbeth' Shakespeare utilizes the theme of guilt as a means to force the Macbeths to face the consequences of their 'sacrilegious deeds' and blood-lust and hence guilt is used by Shakespeare to restore order Scotland. Through the temptations of "Macbeth", the stoicism of Lady Macbeth and above all the mental deterioration of both tragic heroine to the point of "dusty death", Shakespeare aims to explore caution against those, especially nobles, who may have a propensity for regicide. Above all, Shakespeare explores the corrupting effects of power, and through guilt, the psychological detriments of unchecked ambition.

From the beginning of the play, we see guilt manifest through the internal conflict of Macbeth, between his "desires" and morality. In Act 1 Scene 3, Macbeth leaves the witches after they "plant" their prophecies into his mind, and almost immediately, it is revealed that Macbeth has an inclination towards regicide. This is explored in the metaphor "whose horrid image doth unfix my hair" which illustrates Macbeth as morally superior at this point in the play as he feels guilty and shameful for even conjuring up the idea of regicide in his mind. The use of the physical reaction "unfix my hair" on one hand, creates a sense that Macbeth is driven mad by the idea of this 'bloody business' and in doing so, questions ("whose") his guilty conscience. Alternatively, the imagery of "unfix my hair" creates a sense of fear, suggesting that Macbeth is fearful of his 'vaulting ambition', and ultimately lacks control over his morals. However, the use of the imagery in "make my seated heart knock" interestingly denotes that Macbeth feels no guilt, and is fully aware in his "heart" the lengths he is willing to go, in pursuit of the "crown". The juxtaposition between "seated" and "knock" is symbolic of Macbeth's discontent with his societal position, and his insatiable lust for power and ambition. Here we see that Macbeth is beginning to reject his guilt and conscience and slip into his temptations, so perhaps Shakespeare explores how guilt can act as a way to regulate our selfish ambitions, and when we reject our guilt we ultimately reject our humanity.

Secondly, Shakespeare explores the theme of guilt between the Macbeths through the reactions of the Macbeths towards Duncan's murder. In Act 2, Scene 3 Shakespeare illustrates to the audience the disparities of guilt between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. This is explored in the metaphor "or hands are of your colour yet I shame to wear a heart so white" which explores how Lady Macbeth takes on a more callous role within the marriage, whilst rejecting any form of weakness, in this case guilt. The use of the collective pronoun "our” emphasises how Lady Macbeth feels as though they are equal in the murder of Duncan, and how as they are “partners" they should share the same guilt - none. Interestingly the use of the lexical choice of "wear" on one hand may emphasize how Lady Macbeth feels as though guilt is disposable, and like "borrowed robes" you “wear” you then throw them away easily. , However perhaps Shakespeare utilizes the verb "wear" to show Lady Macbeth’s allegiance to Macbeth, and hence how ashamed she is of his cowardice. Interestingly, when we “wear” clothing it is used to represent something that we are a part of, so perhaps through Lady Macbeth “wear[ing] a “heart so white”, it demonstrates her reluctance to share in the guilt of her husband, however, it is her duty, as she is his wife. Additionally, the use of the imagery of "white" one hand may denote purity and maternity, however, it may also alternately denote sickness, just like when someone turns pale when they are sick. Overall it is these, feminine, "white" and pure qualities like "guilt" and innocence, that Lady Macbeth aims to reject, so perhaps Shakespeare tries to critique a patriarchal society that forces its females to reject their humanity and consciences in the pursuit of power.
Thirdly, Shakespeare explores the inevitability of guilt - emphasising how once we commit heinous crimes we can never to escape "guilt" and the "even - handed justice". This is demonstrated in Act 3 where we see Macbeth, despite being overwhelmed by guilt - plan to murder Banquo : "I am in blood stepped in so far that should I wade no more”. The lexical choice "stepped" interestingly suggests that Macbeth is fully conscious and guilty for his actions - he is the one physically taking the "steps" to do so. Perhaps through Macbeth's rejection of guilt and consequences, Shakespeare aims to demonstrate how bloodlust and murder can lead one to lose their morals and humanity. The use of "in blood" creates a sense that Macbeth is fully immersed into an inescapable moral descent, one that he can never recover from or swim out of, as "what is done is done”. However, perhaps the imagery of "in blood" may be a direct subversion of the Christian baptism, emphasizing how far Macbeth as fallen from God as he continues on his murderous journey. Shakespeare here explores how guilt is a necessary part of our humanity, and that without guilt we cannot seek retribution from God, just as Macbeth in Act 2 when "Amen" is found "stuck in his throat".

Finally, Shakespeare explores guilt as a catalyst for mental insanity and how through guilt and death - the Macbeths can atone for their sins. This is explored in Act 5, Lady Macbeth's final words when she exclaims "all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand" which emphasizes how Lady Macbeth state of mind is completely fragmented as she battles with guilt and the "poison" of her actions. The lexical choice of "little hand" explores how Lady Macbeth tries to take on a more innocent from in hopes of appearing less guilt, before God, however this interestingly shows that deception even in a state of madness, is intrinsic to Lady Macbeth. Furthermore, the imagery of "perfumes" on one hand suggests that Lady Macbeth attempts to retreat back to her feminine form and reverse the chaos she has caused, however the was lexical choice of "perfumes" shows how she attempts are temporary and futile just like perfume is. Above all, through the mental deterioration of Lady Macbeth, Shakespeare cautions against a patriarchal society, and more widely emphasises how a rejection of guilt and morality will lead to our hamartia’s.



THE EXTRACT IS LADY MACBETHS OUT DAMNED SPOT PART
Reply 1
I am not a professional marker but after already finishing my GCSE's and watching my English teacher mark, this is probably a 25-30/30, definitely in the top bands from Level 5-6. I would personally say 27/30 marks however, I am not a professional so a really strict marker may say 22/30 marks which is Level 4.

You're very good with word choice and linking objectives together which is really good as well as using your own knowledge. I am also seeing some A-level language terms which is a huge advantage, shows you understand in depth.

I would probably say the only thing to bring in more of is some background context e.g. the jacobean era. maybe on how they believed "the great chain of being" was a thing therefore those who committed regicide would essentially die from being hanged as of the hierarchy. you could link this into Macbeth's act of killing and claim his tortured mental state is a direct consequence of his violation of the natural order and betrayal of his own moral principles. An act of bringing him back to reality hence an increase of guilt. or reasons WHY shakespeare decided to portray a certain theme this way, thinking back in the 1600s and what was going on at the time.

These are only some ideas, well done though, definitely top marks! :smile:
Reply 2
Original post by Zjzc
I am not a professional marker but after already finishing my GCSE's and watching my English teacher mark, this is probably a 25-30/30, definitely in the top bands from Level 5-6. I would personally say 27/30 marks however, I am not a professional so a really strict marker may say 22/30 marks which is Level 4.
You're very good with word choice and linking objectives together which is really good as well as using your own knowledge. I am also seeing some A-level language terms which is a huge advantage, shows you understand in depth.
I would probably say the only thing to bring in more of is some background context e.g. the jacobean era. maybe on how they believed "the great chain of being" was a thing therefore those who committed regicide would essentially die from being hanged as of the hierarchy. you could link this into Macbeth's act of killing and claim his tortured mental state is a direct consequence of his violation of the natural order and betrayal of his own moral principles. An act of bringing him back to reality hence an increase of guilt. or reasons WHY shakespeare decided to portray a certain theme this way, thinking back in the 1600s and what was going on at the time.
These are only some ideas, well done though, definitely top marks! :smile:

Thank you so much! The context for this essay was quite shy😂
Reply 3
Original post by Zjzc
I am not a professional marker but after already finishing my GCSE's and watching my English teacher mark, this is probably a 25-30/30, definitely in the top bands from Level 5-6. I would personally say 27/30 marks however, I am not a professional so a really strict marker may say 22/30 marks which is Level 4.
You're very good with word choice and linking objectives together which is really good as well as using your own knowledge. I am also seeing some A-level language terms which is a huge advantage, shows you understand in depth.
I would probably say the only thing to bring in more of is some background context e.g. the jacobean era. maybe on how they believed "the great chain of being" was a thing therefore those who committed regicide would essentially die from being hanged as of the hierarchy. you could link this into Macbeth's act of killing and claim his tortured mental state is a direct consequence of his violation of the natural order and betrayal of his own moral principles. An act of bringing him back to reality hence an increase of guilt. or reasons WHY shakespeare decided to portray a certain theme this way, thinking back in the 1600s and what was going on at the time.
These are only some ideas, well done though, definitely top marks! :smile:

Thank you so much! The context for this essay was quite shy😂

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